Hi, Welcome to JustAnswer.com, I am glad you are here! My name is Eric & I will endeavor to answer your question.
The question I have is how long has there been a wood burning fireplace there operating successfully as is? You might not even have an issue.
If however, you are concerned and want to rebuild with metal studs and non-combustable wall board, it certainly could not hurt and if it gives you peace of mind and heart, than I see no problem doing so. A good nights sleep is priceless!
Durock is the best of the non combustible cement boards, Hardibacker is also acceptable, Wonderboard whereby might be OK has a mesh backing that in a fire can burn and emit fumes, Perma-shield has polystyrene in it causing the same hazardous fumes in an actual fire.
I recommend using Durock. Over the Durock you can use apply or install tile, brick, marble, granite, stone or you can just finish it with plaster or joint compound if you are looking for the basic painted wall finished look. It does come in 4 X 8 Sheet and it is advisable to use a large enough sheet so that you do not have any joints (except perhaps corners) within 12" of the fireplace.
Hi, I'm sorry, I though I had covered it. Let me restate:
A non-combustible wall would be metal studs sheathed with cement board and then finished with your choice of materials as I outlined previously. I also previously offered my advice on which cement board to use and which not to use. Use Durock.
That said, Your current surrounding walls which are stacked stone with mortar on cement board. Seem to me to also already be non-ombustable unless they are as you suggested, on wood studs. However, if the house was built in 2003, it is equally likely that they might indeed already be metal studs. If it is a more modern look you are after and do not like the existing stacked stone look and are going to rebuild because of that then metal studs sheathed with cement board is going to be your standard non-combustible wall around a fireplace.
Yes I completely understand. I was just making the point that it is entirely possible that what is there now is indeed totally noncombustible if you are able to determine the studs installed in 2003 are metal. If it was built and inspected in 2003 and passed the final inspection for your certificate of occupancy, it was therefore, determined to be up to code and thereby safe.
So your choices as I see them are as follows:
A. If you can determine that it was inspected, then I would (were it my home) accept that
as fact that it is safe and be fine with leaving it as it is.
B. If you can determine that there are metal studs there now, then I would (once again
were it my home) understand it to be non-combustible and would be fine with
leaving it as it is.
C. If the studs are wood and you can not determine that it was every properly inspected
and that it passed that inspection, (were it my home) I might also opt to rebuild with
metal studs and Durock. I would probably however, opt to try to salvage the stone
and re-install it after I built the wall back with metal stud and Durock. (Because I like
Yes, I am sure that Metal studs and Durock will be up to code.